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A Movable Fete for Playhouse Supporters

At the Laguna Playhouse, the action is usually on stage.

But at Monday’s “Movable Feast” fund-raiser, theater buffs created the excitement when they participated in a progressive dinner at five of the town’s notable restaurants.

About 100 people attended the event, which raised $7,000 for the playhouse’s annual fund. “We thought this was a fun way to support the playhouse--and discover a new restaurant,” said Terri Curran, a season ticket-holder who attended the dinner with her husband, John.

Guests arrived at the playhouse to pick up vouchers and maps to restaurants of their choice, including Cedar Creek Inn, Five Feet, Las Brisas, Partners Terrace and Romeo Cucina.

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“We have the good fortune to be in a community with an abundance of good chefs within walking distance of the theater,” said Richard Stein, executive director of the Laguna Playhouse.

A meal in three acts

Each restaurant prepared a full menu, including appetizers, main course and dessert.

During Act I (appetizers) at Las Brisas, for example, guests enjoyed angel hair pasta with sauteed shrimp--a first course Stein called “a full meal in itself.”

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Five Feet prepared Muscovi duck breast with sour cherry Amaretto sauce for the Act II, entree while Partners Terrace served filet mignon. Small wonder a few people skipped Act III--dessert. Tickets were $75 for the dinner, or $125 for those who wanted a chauffeured limousine to whisk them from place to place.

Start the bidding

For the finale, participants returned to the playhouse’s Moulton Theatre for coffee, jazz and a silent auction, with My Dinner With Andrew one of the hot items. “It’s dinner for two at my house,” explained playhouse artistic director Andrew Barnicle, who attended the dinner with his wife, Sara.

Barbara Hammerman, managing director of the Grove Shakespeare Festival, won the dinner with a $110 bid. She obviously didn’t hear what Barnicle had jokingly planned for the menu: “Macaroni and cheese.”

Grand old playhouse

Barnicle directs the oldest continuously operating theater on the West Coast. The playhouse began performances in 1920. Each year it entertains 10,000 theatergoers.

“The place is very successful and the idea is to keep it that way,” Barnicle said. “Trying to maintain a solvent operation in this economy--that’s the challenge.”

The fund-raiser was underwritten by Bettye Baker of Laguna Beach. Others attending included Don Crevier, vice president of the playhouse board of directors, and his wife, Sally; Dr. Richard Hurwitz and his wife, Kathy; Patricia Kollenda; Joan and Don McGillis; Michael Miller, playhouse board president; Carl and LuAnn Schwab, and Walter and Ann von Gremp.

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